Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by daralex, May 4, 2009.

  1. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Just wondering if anyone else is pulling their hair out homeschooling? I am going to send difficult child to a therapeutic school next fall, but she has been home with me since December and once a year or 2 ago.

    When difficult child is in the right mood we can actually have a good day. But OH BOY if she is not in the mood ahe makes sure I am not either! On those particluar days (too many) I feel guilty because she is not being educated the way I feel she should. I know I need to attend to the daily tantrum and that has to take precedence, but then I feel like all the planning I did for that day's work is flushed down the toilet. I plan all kinds of different things to do to try to make it interesting for her (internet, stories, recipes, games, virtual tours, field trips, videos, etc).

    When I did this with her a few years ago she was younger and more pliable. I work from home so I homeschool in the afternoons - and I dread it! I cannot wait until this is all over - she is sucking the life out of me! I think if we had 2 good days in a row I would fall over in disbelief! Anyone else having homeschooling issues? Please tell me it's not just me!!!!:capitulate::2dissapointed::hammer::crazy2:

  2. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Yes, I was having these same issues, without the tantrums.

    I hired a tutor.:D

    I think I could actually like homeschooling, if I didn't have such a difficult student! As it was, I felt like I planned things to make it fun, and we still didn't get it done. It seemed like a waste of my time, and she wasn't getting the education she needed. It was very frustrating.

    I've only had the tutor for one week, so far. We are going to keep going for at least part of the summer, because we were going so slowly. My daughter works much better with the tutor so far. She doesn't even take offered breaks.
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You need to be able to put your own life on hold, to homeschool. You need to feel relaxed about this too, not resentful (which is understandable, to feel that way). I just keep telling myself that I am investing my current time in his future.

    ALso, we're donig a variation on homeschooling which I heartily recommend - correspondence. I don't do the spadework, someone else does. All I do, is supervise. If he has a problem with a lesson or isn't working fast enough in a subject, it's time to talk to the teacher.

    A problem we've had with difficult child 3, is his increasing tendency to use his online time NOT doing schoolwork but instead trawlnig the net looking for games etc. Today I finally laid down the law - if I catch him NOT doing schoolwork on the computer during school hours, he is banned from the Wii for the next 24 hours. I can easily check his history, and if the history file is deleted - then again, the ban comes into being, automatically. he spends a lot of his day on the computer and is increasingly having nothing to show for it.

    After I told him this today, he said he was too upset to work. I left it at that, told him that the work was accumulating regardless and he had better get on with it.

    Another thing we do (which is how I got him working again) - I let him off the bulk of his Maths problems because really, he does know the work. So I HAVE to assess his worksheets and mark off the problems for him to do, so he knows he can leave the rest (unless he is struggling). BY sitting with him when he was doing his Maths (which is NOT online) he saw that I was trying to help him make fast progress, which made him feel better about me and my strict ban. He worked well for the rest of the day.

    Wish me luck for tomorrow - it will be another big break in our routine. But it's the school's fault, this time, so they have to help me out.

  4. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I do wish you luck!!!! And me too!

    It helps to know I'm not the only one out there. I so want to help her and make school a "good" place and part of her day. I guess I have to stop being so hard on myself when the day goes in the toilet. My biggest fear is that she is not learning enough of what she needs to. I have tried every method I know of (I used to teach for real) and nothing seems to click for her. She is just going through the motions to get it over with. We will try out the new school next fall. But if that doesn't work out she will be back home with me as they cannot find any other place to put her. I am counting the days until school is over. We are trying to find her a job for the summer so at least she will be out of the hosue for a few moments each day. I know this shouldn't feel like prison - but it does.

  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Dara, your post is exactly why I didn't try homeschooling. We had enough trouble getting through homework.
  6. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Mary, you're smart - I don't know what I was thinking!

    It really was fine when she was younger, but I just can't do it this time. She is defiant, obnoxious, mean, lazy, and unmotivated - and those are the positive aspects!!! . I DREAD waking her up in the morning. I am very nervous about school next year. The phone calls will start again from teachers and she will be texting me every 5 minutes to come get her or help her. It's just a no win situation. No wonder I feel like I'm crazy!! - I must be!
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    WHich path is easiest? To struggle with her at home this way, or to field calls from the school? And which way is she likely to learn more? Which way helps her the most?

    Does she have a therapist? What sort of stratyegies come out with counselling? What are her issues, why is she difficult, what does she want out of life? What are her plans for herself?
    Something to keep in mind - the anxiety plus the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) plus the PTSD are going to make her behavkiour challenging, but not necessarily in ways that are directed at you. We handle this by NOT reacting as if it's directed at us, and instead trying to help difficult child 3 confront the problem and find a solution. For example if he's shouting, "I can't do this! I don't get it, it's too confusing, I don't want to do these problems!" I don't get upset back, I simply say, "Let me see, there may be another easier way. Or maybe we can find a different way to explain it. Maybe between us we can find a solution."
    We also have the option of calling his Maths teacher for help. If you have someone (other than you) who can work as a tutor in the difficult subject areas then that can take a LOT of heat off you, in terms of being the person in a teaching role. It then makes it easier for you to be the facilitator and not part of the problem, in her mind.

    Something that is also very important, especially for a student who is anxious and has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues - involve her in the choices that need to be made. Write it all down, do a PMI on the whole thing. (PMI = Plus, Minus, Interesting).
    YOu get a sheet of paper (or two) and draw three columns headed P, M & I. One set of columns discusses the aspects of being in school mainstream. The other deals with homeschooling.
    You may need a third, for dropping out. But in our family, "dropping out" or finishing school, meant that there had to be a work ethic of some kind, even if it was unpaid. So when difficult child 3 finished school we told him, "either get a job, or do further study, or find volunteer work you can do. But you MUST keep occupied gainfully outside the home."

    At 14, she is probably too young to leave school and get a job. But in some areas, especially if she is almost 15, it may be an option and it does need to be considered. If she insists that all she ants in life is to work behind a cash register in a shop somewhere, then help arrange it for her. Help make it happen. The reality will bring the outcomes home to her soon enough. And you never know - it could make her. Or she could hate it and as a result have a better idea of what life outside school is like, what her life will be like if she fials to get further qualifications.

    SHE needs to own whatever choices are made on her behalf. So if after all the dicussion and analysis, she accepts that homeschooling is the best option, then she needs to accept the ground rules. Work on them as a team, it will help her own the process. This is what we did with both our boys, especially difficult child 1, and it did make it easier to insist on the work being done. "You made the choice to study this way; my job is to keep you focussed and organised in your work. How best do you want me to do this? What will you do, to make it easier for me to help you?"

    Chances are, she really wants to learn. But she will need some specific direction, some sense of "I have control over where this is going." If it's too open-ended, it can actually be MORE stressful for a difficult child. Make instructions specific and clear, in steps. Even if you write a list of tasks to be done so she can tick them off, it can help. But remember - you're NOT the teacher, you're the facilitator. She has to educate herself. All you have to do, is support her.

    If you can find correspondence or online courses, they can make the task easier. It gets you out of the firing line as home teacher. Because her experience of teachers hasn't been too favourable.

    A short aside - I went to a mainstream school, but in my senior years I had one teacher who refused to teach me his subject, because I was a girl and it was a very male topic (Physics). The entire school faculty thought I had only chosen the topic because a boy I liked had chosen it, and I was wanting to hang around with the boys. What the teachers could never understand, was I hung round with those boys because we had similar interests (Physics and Engineering).
    But I really wanted to study that subject, I had been interested in aspects of Physics since I was a pre-schooler. So I attended the classes, being ignored by the teacher, but I read the textbook cover to cover. In the exam, I actually answered different questions to the ones the class had studied, and I passed. And you know? That ratbag teacher had the hide to take the credit for me passing!

    But the most important thing - I KNEW that it was entirely my doing, I deserved the credit. And boy, was that a good feeling!

  8. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Thank you Marg. I'm sorry about the physics teacher but way to go for you!
    Thank you for putting things into perspective. Sometimes I guess I am too close to see what I should be doing. I know the right things to do, but when I get so wrapped up in it I forget. Hopefully things will get better. I actually just made arrangements for her to go to a therapuetic school next year - so I just have to get through the next two months. Thanks again - it was very helpful!

  9. I am so sorry that you have to go through that but regarding that therapeutic boarding school thing, have you secured that they wont try to alter the fact that she sees herself as a lesbian as you write in the other thread?

    I write this because I have researched a lot for my daughter - just in the case the situation should get worse.

    Most of them isolate each gender for themselves because they want the students to focus on their issues rather than establishing relationships in the student community.

    Some of the schools see it as their task to make the issue of sexual orientation a part of the treatment regardless of the fact that you state that you respect it.

    While I certainly find it very important that you should keep adult partners away from her, I would if I found myself in your shoes regarding her choice of a lifepartner ask the school if they will respect her choices in that matter. If they don't I would not place my daughter such a place. I saw a story about the journalist [ame=""]Lyn Duff[/ame] who were sent to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) which did not respect her sexual orientation.

    Have you been looking at normal boarding schools with small classes?

    I find it so hard that you have to struggle with all that and I realize that I would never be able to homeschool my children, so I find that you are a strong person to have made it so far.
  10. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    The school is actually a day treatment program. I have already insisted that whoever her counselor is at the school must be a woman as she does not do well being alone with older males to say the least. There are 8 kids - boys and girls - in a class and they spend the whole day in that room aside from lunch and counseling.

    If that doesn't work I will snap. The only alternative is to have her placed in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) after that. I never thought I would be here - I never thought it would get this bad. I just know something major needs to be put in pace asap.

    I guess on the outside it may look like I'm strong - but honestly I have never felt so hopeless and weak.